Is the Nintendo Wii phoning home on its own?

So today, the Nintendo DSi launched in the North America. I got mine, love it. More on that later.

We turned on Animal Crossing: City Folk on the Wii tonight, and the pelican mailman dude was there with a special gift from Nintendo. It was a chair shaped like a DSi in honor of DSi day. Now, special ‘gifts’ based on holidays are pretty common in AC: CF (and other games, Wiqd pointed out the April Fool’s Joke in WiiFit), but holiday dates are known years in advance and are easy to plan for. So this unexpected ‘holiday’ got me to wondering about something.

It’s possible that way back when they released Animal Crossing: City Folk, they knew that the DSi was going to launch on April 5th in North America. But the game released back in November, which meant the coding was finished before that.

So either Nintendo really planned ahead (and is pretty leak-proof) or somehow Animal Crossing: City Folk is being updated behind the scenes. I know we’ve updated the Wii firmware/operating system a few times, but never the game itself.

I’m of two minds on this. The gamer in me is delighted at the idea that Nintendo is releasing new content for Animal Crossing: City Folk. But the privacy zealot in me is a little concerned that they’re updating my software without letting me know they’re updating my software.

Or is this even considered updating the software? After all, friends can email items to each other across instances of the game once they’ve exchanged friend codes and visited one another once, so maybe Nintendo is just pre-coded to be everyone’s mail-enabled friend. If that’s the case, it could be the DSi was just waiting on the disk for some trigger to come from Nintendo in the form of a mail.

(Yes, I’m kind of thinking out loud on this one.)

Angela’s mom has Animal Crossing on a Wii that isn’t connected to the internet, and Angela asked her about these mailed gifts, and sure enough, she doesn’t get them. So there aren’t pre-scripted, pre-scheduled actions, but are really mails from Nintendo.

So now I wonder, do these mails just unlock items already on the CD, or are they actually tiny packets of DLC that we’re getting?

And if the latter, how ‘big’ can this mailed DLC get? Could Nintendo email us a new resident for our towns, for instance?

4 thoughts on “Is the Nintendo Wii phoning home on its own?

  1. It’s no secret: Nintendo is delivering special content to folks whose Wiis are using the WiiConnect24 feature. Here’s the official “special delivery” page, which includes information on current downloadable gifts as well as a hint at the next scheduled surprise:

    By the way, if anyone missed the Shamrock Hat or the Red Pikmin Hat (the first two special deliveries), I can purchase duplicates from Tom Nook. 😉

  2. Your choice of topic is interesting, because i actually think my Wii is turning it’s self on when no one is around, but it’s not updating the system software. On several occasions, my wife has mentioned that the light on the Wii just comes on and the system is running on it’s own, but I only have the sports game I got with the system and it’s not updating itself, because I’m had to manually do that.

    Very strange.

    Maybe this is how aliens will take over the world, through a small affordable console sitting on your TV?

  3. @Oakstout: Your blue Wii slot light will come on (and usually blink slowly) when you’ve received a message. The console is in standby mode — orange power light — but not fully powered on. This is another WiiConnect24 feature. You can turn the message notification light to “dim” or off in the Wii settings if the blinking bugs you. 🙂

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